I have been watching the discussion for a while now and as nobody seems to
have touched on the core issue I feel compelled to make a few comments.
I think once again Australia is losing its face in the international
community - who are we to condemn rainforest clearing in South America and
Asia if we're destroying 1 ha of native veg per 20 minutes in Qld? It's
disgusting and should have been expected by the Qld gov't when they started
talking about toughening legislation for land clearing.
The southern states have recently been woken up by the release of the
salinity audit, showing an increase in major river's salinity in the next
50-100 years to undrinkable and in many cases totally unusable standards.
This is largely due to large-scale land clearing in the past and
unsustainable farming practices in the present.
Parts of Qld are in the Murray Darling Basin and the current land clearing
will present the next generation with similar impacts. At the moment, these
costs are $400 M a year on a basin-wide scale: infrastructure (buildings,
roads, etc to be repaired due to waterlogging & salinity, in Wagga alone 20
houses have been condemned by salt impacts and many of them are only 10
years old), loss of agricultural production, pumping costs for interception
schemes, loss real estate value, etc. etc). These costs are expected to
increase dramatically, and what's happening in Qld is only making matters
As we are moving into the 21st century, this sort of uncontrolled
environmental rape should not be acceptable to anybody, be it because of the
enormous costs it is going to present other people, or be it because of
environmental reasons. It's time the federal government steps in and puts
Qld back in its box.
The farmer on TV referred to the fact that we wouldn't have our daily meals
of cereals, bread, orange juice, beef, milk, whatever, was it not for native
veg clearing to have occurred in the past. Practices that at the time may
have seemed right but have now been proven to do great harm do not justify
Of course we must try to be co-operative with farmers and work towards
sustainable agriculture. But don't tell me they're struggling and we're
sitting behind our computers in our financial security. Many of us are on
contracts and what the future holds no-one knows. The average age of farmers
is just below 50. They may not have had a choice but any younger farmers or
fruitgrowers or whatever did have the choice to go out and do something
else. They can't complain if they're in financial trouble - they could've
gotten themselves a real job.
I'll shut up now. The next thing I'm going to do is email the relevant Qld
ministers but also the relevant Fed ministers.